I will be un-edited so you can pick and choose what works for you! And I've included my best - and worst - photos to show you where I've been and where I'm heading again.
I was always a "chunky," "thick," girl. Always about 20 lbs overweight through college. Joined ROTC, and even in the military was weighing in the 150s (which was officially "overweight," and I always had to do the skin caliper tests to determine fat percentage to pass annual weigh-ins.
In 2002, I decided to lose the 20+ lbs I always had carried around, and I practiced Atkins - very low carb, high fat, moderate protein (no real calorie counting...). Lost all the weight I needed to (see my photos from June of 2002). I was down to 138 lbs, and - for me - was at an "ideal" weight. However, at that time, low carb eating was REALLY attacked and discredited, so I quit it - peer pressure and all. Over the next 12 months (literally) I gained 30 lbs. By 2009, I was up to 196 lbs. 45 years old and horrified!!!
Needing to "do something," I jumped on the exercise and eating Weight Watchers/Nutrisystem bandwagon, and spent the next 2+ years training for triathlon, 1/2 marathon, and this season (2012) I completed a duathlon and some other minor races. And I did lose about 25 lbs.... only to gain 20 of that back again by December of 2011 – when I “took a break” from the vigorous and (for me) excessive exercise. So I went about the business of educating myself on what weight loss is REALLY about. How to do it? Is low carb eating really bad? Did I really need to exercise this much? What I am learning is that there are many paths to weight loss, 80% of the success comes thru diet and only maybe 20% due to exercise.....
Though my racing required that I exercise fanatically, I didn’t get below 160 lbs. And it was just too much work – I am not THAT sold on living to race. In Dec of 2011, I Read Taubes’ “Why We Get Fat” and Phinney/Volek’s “The Art and Science of Low Carb Living.”
Jan 2012, I began low carb again in earnest. And really moderated my exercise. For the next 9 months I have tweaked my nutrition percentages, finally settling on: 80g protein, under 40g carbs, the rest in healthy fats. I work out maybe 3 times per week, either spin class or biking, running 3 miles, or swimming for 30 minutes. Maybe a step class in there every now and then. Nothing too serious. Some weeks I only get to the gym once.
I'm on my way back to 140 lbs. I'm at 158 lbs now, having lost 30 lbs so far this year, and working on my final 20.
WHAT I AM DOING TODAY
- I have eaten low carb faithfully since 1/1/12, and have lost 30 lbs in this calendar year (as of 10/1/12). I feel fantastic. I cook, I get desserts, I eat a lot of meat and a lot of healthy fats.... and I'm losing maybe 1/2lb per week. I bake and fry using almond flour and coconut flour (awesome).
- For me, artificial sweeteners slow the weight loss so I don’t drink diet pop and don’t cook many recipes that require Splenda or other sweeteners. Maybe a little honey if I’m making a low carb cheesecake.
- My primary resources: Jimmy Moore’s “Livin La Vida Low Carb” podcast; Nutritional Weight and Wellness podcast (and online supplement ordering – free shipping!); the books by Gary Taubes, Drs Phinney and Volek, and Dr William Davis; (they are THE BEST to explain how eating sugar and carbs really throws on the pounds); Dr Lustig's YouTube video, "Sugar: The Bitter Truth"; and I regularly read blogs from Dr Lo, Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, among others.
- Exercise: for me, exercise is ok, but not thrilling. I am losing weight successfully only working out about 45 min MAYBE 3 days a week, because I'm learning that diet is the primary tool for loss. Exercise is helping me keep toned, which is good too, of course.
- my daily diet: Again, I don't eat any carbs except thru my veggies, pretty much avoid fruit except strawberries and blueberries. And I eat any kind of meat I want. I cook with butter or coconut oil or peanut oil. I use almond butter or coconut butter in recipes. I use a little Splenda in my cooking, and Sweet and Low in my coffee, but otherwise avoid sweeteners. I drink no soda. I will maybe have one alcoholic beverage once a month, but generally am not a drinker. I love cream in my coffee, snacks are 1oz of almonds (which work great for me midday if I am hungry); and regularly drink Atkins Shakes to start my day. Not the bars yet, though…
Breakfast: an Atkins shake and coffee with heavy cream or eggs and bacon/sausage or steak from previous night's dinner or my low carb chili recipe or a protein shake I make with whey protein/cottage cheese/full fat yogurt.
Lunch: tunafish w/full fat mayo or a bacon cheeseburger (no bun) with a side salad or a Cobb Salad (using full fat ranch dressing) or any other protein with a side of veggies.
Dinner: pretty much the same. My meats are steak, pork chops, bacon, sausage, hamburger, turkey burger, chicken, tuna, shrimp, any kind of fish, pretty much any kind of meat.
Snacks: if I need to snack, I eat 1 oz of raw almonds or 1 oz of macadamia nuts or jicama or a side salad or string cheese. I also make great low carb ice cream, a nice snack (Atkins recipe).
These days, I pretty much eat 2 or 3 meals a day, am not often hungry. I drink a lot of water, and have a strict regimen of supplements to maintain health, keep my hair healthy (I have very thin hair and want to keep it healthy), etc.
STATS SO FAR:
In late 2009, I was at 196 lbs and had about a 39” waist and 45” hips. Was wearing size 14+ and XL shirts.
In late Sep 2012, I am at 158 lbs and have a 31 inch waist and 40” hips. Am in a size 10 suit, med or lg shirts.
At 138, I'll have about a 29" or 30" waist with maybe 38” hips. Will be in a size 8 suit, medium shirts.
And my chest size? Holy man.... I was in a size 36D bra at my heaviest, and was in a 34B bra at 138 lbs. Now I am wearing a 36C.
Jan 1, 2012: weight at 188.1 lbs.
Feb 1, 2012: weight at 181.1 lbs.
Mar 1, 2012: weight at 177.9 lbs.
Apr 1, 2012: weight at 177.5 lbs.
May 1, 2012: weight at 172.1 lbs. **bike race this month, 150-mile 2-day “MS150” in northern Minnesota
June 1, 2012: weight at 168.1 lbs.
July 1, 2012: weight at 166.1 lbs. **duathlon relay this month, 5K + 15-mile run + 5K
August 1, 2012: weight at 162 lbs.
Sep 1, 2012: weight at 161 lbs.
Sep 28, 2012: weight at 158 lbs.
I got my blood work done in May of 2012. Still estrogen dominant (contributing to weight gain around my middle); all other indicators normal. HDL was an ok 53; triglycerides were an excellent 70.
- Progesterone cream: Emerita Pro-Gest. I put the progesterone on my face to further assist in skin revitalization.
1. GNC Women’s Ultra Mega multivitamin, 1 in morning and 1 before bed (be sure to find a multivitamin with enough Vitamin A!)
2. Omega-3: 2000mg in morning, 1000mg before bed
3. Vitamin E: 400iu in morning
4. B Complex (to bump up my B12): 1 tablet in morning
5. Vitamin C: 1000mg in morning
6. Calcium: 600mg in morning (body can’t absorb more than 600mg at one time). Stimulates sympathetic nervous system, good to take in morning – and not with magnesium.
7. Vitamin D: 500iu in morning.
8. Magnesium glycinate: 500mg in pm. Stimulates parasympathetic nervous system, really helps me sleep!
I just ordered a ketone meter (per Phinney/Volek’s book and Jimmy Moore’s n=1 experiments!) to begin testing ketones for optimal nutritional ketosis. My weight loss has slowed, and I still want to lose 20 more lbs. Besides, I’m a techy geek, and I enjoy tracking this stuff. I already have a glucose meter and test my blood glucose levels when eating any food whose effect I am curious about. Atkins shakes are absolutely neutral to my blood sugar (yeah!). Sherbert, on the other hand, sends my blood sugar thru the roof! (sigh…**)
Discipline to prepare food to bring to work. I skip lunch a LOT.
What advice (if any) would you give to someone interested in trying a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet? Were there any obstacles that you overcame that could help future dieters?
listen to podcasts and read the books: Taubes, Drs Phinney/Volek, Dr William Davis especially. They keep me on track!
Tried a paleo or low carb diet? Join Today and contribute to a better understanding of this way of eating!